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Home Food for Thought Tragedies of our Times Seeds of War and decline of Civilizastions

Seeds of War and decline of Civilizastions

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To answer a question as this, one should be prepared to study how humans have reacted in the past to events affecting them in the past.    History as taught in schools becomes part of a curriculum which bores students and they tend to mug the contents just to get passing marks.    It is in later years, when the work of one's life time's work gets affected, then they want to know why such a thing has happened.   How they have lost everything in spite of their best efforts.

Today many have lost fortune and life in parts of Africa and the Middle East.    North Koreans have been forced into starvation, by the political whims of nations.     People of Palestine have been garrisoned in the prison of their own homes in the land of their ancestors, where a unwelcome guest has road rolled himself with the help of powerful partners, with the fig leaf of history, and that too, a spiritual history on which the guest has built a whole structure which is taken for granted by millions of their faith and others who have borrowed from them.    They lay a claim for a piece of land and quote God himself, who is the Father of all created things and as if, he has thrown some of his children to the wolves just to satisfy a pampered child.    It does not sound that this is the same God who has created life in plants, animals and humans, and this creatures display such a sharp intelligence in the Maker of these things around us.    Such a God could not subscribe to what they are fighting for, and there should be some mistake in the interpretation of the original intention of the writing of the Promise.    Apparently He sent his only begotten Son to explain, but they slaughtered the Messenger but his teaching has managed to live on, but is again mis-interpreted to suit the intentions of all and sundry.     Now God is left with only one thing which these people will understand and that is to pull the rug from under their feet.    Has he done it in the past?   Yes.  He Has.   That is the purpose of this article to show how he has done it so that we can be caught on our guard when HE will do it again.

We are the inheritors of a history which started with the Roman Empire.    One may say, that it was only the history of the Western world.   It is true, but North Africa, the Middle East and part of Turkey were affected by it.     Marco Polo had traveled to the East to discover China.   The Chinese and the Indian civilizations had continued un-interrupted by the Roman Empire.    India was affected by the rise of Genghis Khan and then the migrations of the Moguls and their conquest of India.     After the expansion of the British Empire all the eastern nations got engulfed in it and become participants in the development of history of a world as a whole.

Even if the latter part of the millennium that has just passed, we would be well advised where they inherited their tricks from.    To do it, we should start with the Roman Empire.

The Roman Empire.

I will have to depend on the work of others who have researched this subject more thoroughly than me.  I would like to weave a thread through their work.    The first source is the website: http://www.roman-empire.net/founding/found-index.html

I will quote a small paragraph from the above site: "The rise of Rome was certainly not inevitable, but it had many advantages right from the start. Rome lies only a few miles from the sea with all its possibilities of trade. It lies central to the Italian peninsula, which in turn lies central to the entire Mediterranean Sea. Italy is guarded by the Alps to the North and by the sea all around. Add to this the influence of the Greeks which were settling Italy, founding cities like Cumea, and hence bringing advanced civilization to the country and you have a place with lots of potential. From the Greeks who lived in the South, the Romans learnt fundamental skills such as reading and writing, even their religion... The Etruscans who lived to the North had developed from the more advanced and civilized cultures of the east, owing much of their culture to the Greeks. At around 650 to 600 BC the Etruscans crossed the Tiber and occupied Latium. It is through this, so one believes, that the settlement on the Palatine Hill was brought together with the settlements on surrounding hills, either in an attempt to fend off the invaders, or, once conquered, by the Etruscan master who sought to rule their kingdom via a structure of city states. It is at this point that the first known Kings appear. Always assuming that the likes of Romulus were to be seen as myth."

"It was under the Roman Kings that the Roman ability to create an empire of sorts first came to the fore, even though any original intentions will hardly have been of an imperial nature."    Here we have an insight to our present times.   Many things that happen may not have been according to the original intention, but history has a tendency to witness the rug being pulled out from the feet of the perpetrators, who like to disturb the existing equilibrium to gain an advantage for themselves.    You will note this happening again and again, and that is why, I feel it is but inevitable that will happen again, even if I may not be there to witness it, as it may happen after I have departed this world.    There are many who are living now, but do not have any time to think for themselves but will be part of the conflagration this is to come.    At least if some who may read this by chance and happen to live at that time, will remember what I said here.

http://www.roman-empire.net/maps/map-empire.html    See here a map of the territories which a small city like Rome was able to bring under their control.

Early Rome was governed by kings, but after only seven of them had ruled, the Romans took power over their own city and ruled themselves.

They then instead had a council known as the 'senate' which ruled over them. From this point on one speaks of the 'Roman Republic'.

The word 'Republic' itself comes from the Latin (the language of the Romans) words 'res publica' which mean 'public matters' or 'matters of state'.

The senate under the kings had only been there to advise the king. Now the senate appointed a consul, who ruled Rome like a king, but only for one year. - This was a wise idea, as like that, the consul ruled carefully and not as a tyrant, for he knew that otherwise he could be punished by the next consul, once his year was up.

The Roman Republic was a very successful government. It lasted from 510 BC until 23 BC - almost 500 years.

The greatest challenge the Roman Republic faced was that of the Carthaginians. Carthage was a very powerful city in North Africa which, much like Rome, controlled its own empire which extended to the Spanish mainland. . The fight between the two sides was a long one and took place on land and on sea.

The most famous incident came when the great Carthaginian general Hannibal crossed the mountain chain of the Alps to the north of Italy with all his troops, including his war-elephants !, and invaded Italy.   Though Rome in the end won and Carthage an ancient city in North Africa located in modern day Tunis and to the civilization that developed within the city's sphere of influence. The city of Carthage was located on the eastern side of Lake Tunis across from the center of modern Tunis in Tunisia.

Carthage was completely destroyed in the year 146 BC.

143-133 Third Celtiberian War (also called Numantine War)

142 Censorship of Scipio Aemilianus. Stone bridge over the Tiber.

137 Defeat and surrender of Mancinus in Spain

135-132 Slave War in Sicily

134 Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus becomes people's tribune in the absence of the Consul Scipio Aemilianus. His assassination in 133 sparks open class conflict in Rome

133 King Attalus II bequeaths Pergamum by Testament to Rome. Scipio Aemilianus sacks Numantia and settles Spain.

129 Death of Scipio Aemilianus. Province of Asia organized.

124 War against Arverni and Allobroges in Gaul

Two years had not elapsed after the battle of Zama when war was for the second time declared between Rome and Macedon. The peace of 205 BC had never been more than a hostile truce.  Philip V's strategy of consolidating and extending his despotic rule over the free cities in Greece the Aegean and the coast of Asia Minor (Turkey) was scarcely disguised.   In 201 BC he carried troops across the Hellespont and set about the conquest of Caria. He was alas driven back by the stiff joint resistance by the fleet of Rhodes and Attalus, king of Pergamum.   This moment of weakness proved disastrous to Macedon as it saw Athens and other Greek cities seeing their chance of ridding themselves of Macedon rule. The Greek cities broke away and appealed to Rome for help (200 BC).

After the hardships of the struggle against Hannibal, the Roman people had had enough of fighting. And yet the senate was convinced that the choice was not before war and peace, but between war in Macedon or in Italy. For sooner or later Philip would attack. So Rome chose war.

Though the Roman campaigns if 200 and 199 BC were ineffective. In 198 BC the command of the Roman and allied army was granted to Titus Quinctius Flaminius, and Rome's choice proved to be a wise one.
He succeeded in winning over the Achaean League, which had been reluctant to join forces with the Aetolian League of Greek cities.   Then, in 197 BC Flaminius was able to bring Philip of Macedon to a decisive engagement at Cynoscephalae in Thessaly, where the infamous Macedonian phalanx was decisively defeated by the Roman legions.

What this shows, is that empires grow out of the necessity to have common markets and control over them for trade purposes.     There has to be a control over the work force, which were supplied by slaves from the conquered territories, and that necessitated the conquest and subjugation of the conquered people. This is not far from today's reality.

Early Roman Emperors

Augustus Tiberius Caligula Claudius Nero Galba Otho Vitellius Vespasian Titus Domitian

Gaius Julius Octavius - Augustus born on 23 September 63 BC in Rome, son of Gaius Octavius and Aita, niece of Julius Caesar, who adopted him as his heir. Consul 43, 33, 31-23 BC. Effectively became emperor in 27 BC, with extended powers in 23 BC. Married (1) Claudia, (2) Scribonia (one daughter; Julia), (3) Drusilia (one son; Tiberius). Died at Nola, 19 August AD 14. Deified on 17 September AD 14.

1Now it came to pass in those days, there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be enrolled. 2This was the first enrolment made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3And all went to enroll themselves, every one to his own city. 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David; 5to enroll himself with Mary, who was betrothed to him, being great with child. 6And it came to pass, while they were there, the days were fulfilled that she should be delivered. 7And she brought forth her firstborn son; and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  Luke Chapter 2.  Verses 1 - 7.

Augustus  retained the most powerful provinces under his direct power on the grounds that they were insecure, either with enemies on their borders or were themselves capable of rebellion. But his real purpose was that he alone should have arms and maintain soldiers. . It was a muted way of assuring himself, as commander-in-chief.  The army would be stationed only in the outer provinces which would be governed and administered by the emperor's appointees. This meant that the frontier would be under direct imperial authority, establishing for the emperor a hold over foreign affairs and decisions of peace and war. 

Imperial power thus was gained by manipulating the territories and its people.    Palestine in those days was on the periphery of the empire and was administered from Syria.     This was the known world of the times    Asia and China were too far and did not bother the Romans and these countries grew and existed without being hampered or influenced by the Roman Empire.

The emperors that followed Augustus were primarily occupied in retaining their thrones and managing the machinations within the empire.   The subjects were not entirely happy but could rise in the esteem of the rulers by ingratiating themselves and thus some people were subject to torture at the hands of the empire.  You can take the analogy of the war on terror of George Bush to understand the way things happed at that time.   If Jesus was crucified, it was because powerful Jews were in a better position to influence Pontius Pilate, and it was his final responsibility to do the job in order to be in the good books of the Emperor    Even today, the US government goes to war not for its own safety, but for the safety of its powerful backers who prop their economy.    In order to justify the expense the public are fed with propaganda through controlled media and as they are kept misinformed, they are pliable and the powers to be, can get away with murder.

Basically, in the last two thousand years, the Western method of administration has not improved substantially.   . What is enlightening is the way these powers rose and fell and that is where the indicators are flashing to warn us of the impending perils and to find a secure refuge in the case of a disaster.   If some one is in the path of a hurricane, it is but natural that he should take care.    If he has not bothered in advance of the tragedy, then one can only pity them after the tragedy has occurred.  

To those who are familiar with the New Testament narrative, they could visualize the anecdotes mentioned there were happening after the death of Augustus and when the emperor was Tiberius.   Tiberius Claudius Nero born on 16 November 42 BC, son of Tiberius Claudius Nero (d. 33 BC) and Livia Drusilla (c.58 BC - AD 29), who married Augustus in 39 BC. Became emperor in AD 14. Married (1) Vipsania (one son, Drusus 13 BC - AD23); (2) Julia, daughter of Augustus. Died at Misenum, 16 March AD 37.

It is the opinion that Jesus died at this time and what happened in Palestine took place after his death and under the emperors that followed him.    When the apostle Peter and Paul were teaching their fellow Jews in Rome, it was ruled by Caligula and Claudius.   Caligula died in AD 41 and Claudius died in AD 54.   At this time, the Romans were concentrating in getting the Northern tribes under control in Germany, and they too considered them as ;terrorists' and captured them and persecuted them.  The Germans were a threat to the security and national interests of the Roman province and so it was considered necessary to invest a lot of fortune and money in the army to fight these foreign terrorists.    The Roman historians have immortalized the memory of their generals and rulers from where we get our information today.   The Germans and the Gauls were illiterates and did not have any one to keep their history.   It has lived in the memory of their descendants and nurtured through legends.

Nero Claudius Drusus Germanicus

Born Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus at Antium in AD 37, son of Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, consul in AD 32, and Agrippina, sister of Caigula, who then married Crispus Passienus and, later, in AD 49, her uncle Claudius. Became emperor in AD 54. Married (1)Octavia; (2) Poppaea Sabina (one daughter, Claudia Augusta, who died in infancy); (Statilia Messalina. Committed suicide in AD 68.

In this period  British islands came under the dominion of the Roman empire and the Latin language began to have its influence on the language of the Angles who lived in the southern potion of the main land.   The Welsh dwelled in the south west and the Celts in the island of Eire.   North was the land of Scots.    The history of these islanders too is buried in the mists of legends and memory cherished and recorded by Chaucer and Charles Dickens much later.    Due to the ruthless way in which the Romans treated them, they too inherited the methods of controlling their subjects and ruling them and this has lasted even in the twenty first century.

By this time in Palestine, there was a division among the Jews.   Many followed the apostles of Jesus and they were Pacifists.  The elite were still maintaining orthodox Judaism and were bent on getting rid of the Roman yoke.   However their strength was not matched to the strength of the Romans and so they had to find devious means of getting round this problem.  Rumors began to spread in Rome that the Christians were cannibals and eating human flesh, a  misrepresentation of the Eucharistic ritual.  The Romans were in good books with the Orthodox Jews and the Christians began to be hounded and persecuted and this continued for three centuries.   The Orthodox Jews went a step ahead and waged an unsuccessful war against the Romans and were vanquished and banished from Palestine.

This land was then filled by the non Jews who lived there side by side with the Jews as well as by the Samaritans and the Arabs from Jordan and the surrounding areas which is the subject of conflict in the twentieth century.

The Romans not only waged wars, but also developed trade as they were a maritime people.   Their ships lied the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf.   To develop this trade they had to get Egypt and the Middle East under their control.   They had to conquer Asia Minor and then use land and sea routes to ply their trade routes.    It has been known that Roman coins were found on the west coast of India.   It is doubtful whether the Roman ships came to India or they were Arab vessels which sailed from the southern ports of Mesopotamia.   The Diaspora Jews too developed the trading profession and moved as far as Cochin in India and had their settlements.   It is to these settlements that St. Thomas the apostles came to visit and preach the Faith in Jesus.   The faith also was accepted by the local people and their descendants today are the Syrian Catholics, Jacobites and Mar Thoma followers of Christianity    The Christians of Mesopotamia, who belonged to the Chaldean Church too were traders and with them the missionaries came to serve their religious needs and to preach the faith to people who wanted to know about it.    This led to many conversions and Christianity came to be the faith of many people of different nations.    These Chaldean Christians followed the Syrian Rite with a kind of ancient Aramaic and Arabic mix.    The Christianity that spread in the west from Rome, was following Latin as the language to convey the ideas.    In North Africa it was the Coptic language and thus we have the Coptic Church today there.    Around Greece and Turkey which was known as Asia Minor, Greek was spoken and the Christianity there followed their rituals in the Greek language.   Thus in the Roman empire there were people of different nations speaking different languages and so in the Early Church,  all languages were accepted and different rites of rituals came to be accepted.

For the Roman government however all laws were made in Rome and were applied all over the empire.  For administration the empire was divided into two sections, the Western and the Eastern.   The Western empire was run from Rome and the Eastern was run from Byzantium, which later was named Constantinople of the City of Constantine. 

Decline of the Roman Empire

The transition took place gradually, and all the wars that had to be fought to preserve the empire and its position of power in the world of that time drained much of the wealth of the empire.  As the empire was fighting its wars, their enemies too learnt their methods and starting to improve their warfare techniques and finally the Roman solders had to contend with strong opponents, which came up in Persia and in the North among the Germans and the Gauls.    Even in those days, the familiarity of the language of the Conquerors led to the spread of the knowledge on which they depended.    The same thing happens now, with the spread of the knowledge through the Internet, and we are using the language of the British Isles, which has spread around the whole world, and people do not need to be forced to learn it.   This is the irony of power. 

Constantine the Great

His conversion to the Faith of the Christians changed the direction the Roman Empire took.   It became more peaceful and organized.   It grew in knowledge.  Constantine called many Councils to discuss about Christianity and to codify its beliefs.    These councils were called Ecumenical Councils as they were attended by Bishops and Scholars of Christianity from the whole empire.

 

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